Watched this on a whim, wish I watched an actual film instead. Go figure.
Yes, I got sucked in by the Netflix true crime schtick that the streaming giant seems to have a monopoly on these days. Why Did You Kill Me? is a true story, and a harrowing one at that. My issue is not with the story itself – I’m glad that it has been told through the medium of documentary filmmaking – but with the fact that it’s all just so forgettable. It shows us the life and untimely death of 24-year old Crystal Theobold, who was shot and killed by a stray bullet when out for a drive with her mother. Where it gets a little bit more (sadly) unique is the way in which the Theobold family band together using a fake MySpace account to try to catch her killer(s), and they end up becoming embroiled in gang culture in their attempts to seek justice.
First and foremost, how anyone could watch something like this and still support “the right to bear arms” is utterly baffling to me. Are you insane? Serious question.
In terms of documentary filmmaking, the use of reconstructions is pretty standard, but I did like the low budget toy car rebuilding of the film’s events. Sometimes less is more and that is a perfect example – it’s simple but extremely effective, and it was nice to see a doc without cheesy, poorly acted re-enactments. The innovative nature of the visuals aside, the rest of the film is pretty lacklustre.
Why Did You Kill Me? takes on a pretty complicated true story, but unfortunately its downfall is that sometimes it’s not clear exactly what happened, and it often fails to lay out these incorrigible events in an understandable way. There were several moments in which I was really quite confused and I can only put that down to the editing and strange timeline choices. Instead of just telling the story in a linear manner, the director chooses to jump backwards and forwards, which all seemed more Christopher Nolan than Michael Moore, and honestly it all just becomes a little baffling and convoluted.
When it comes down to it, Why Did You Kill Me? is a run-of-the-mill Netflix documentary with a sadly all too familiar story. It’s not exactly original or mind-blowing in any way, but it’s definitely a story that deserves to be told, especially because of the victim(s) of these gang members. Again – whilst trying not to sound like a broken record – the filmmaking itself lets it down, and I simply wish it was put together more cohesively and comprehensively to really do the story justice.
No, I can’t say it’s the best documentary I’ve ever seen, but it gets the job done well enough and in quite a short space of time. There are, however, much better films on such topics, so there’s not much of a recommendation from me I’m afraid.
Why Did You Kill Me? is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design: n/a